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Can atheists be happy?
Posted: 03 May 2012 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Atheists can be happy. They can also be miserable. As a matter of fact they can have scores of different emotions.

Why focus on only one emotion? (I know the answer. Read below)

Because happiness was drilled into the American’s psyche as an “inalienable” right in their quest for “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”.

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Posted: 03 May 2012 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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TenFold - 03 May 2012 08:48 AM

Atheists can be happy. They can also be miserable. As a matter of fact they can have scores of different emotions.

Why focus on only one emotion? (I know the answer. Read below)

Because happiness was drilled into the American’s psyche as an “inalienable” right in their quest for “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”.

Right. Because seeking happiness is a disease upon America. What the hell?

What is wrong with seeking happiness? What sane person does not desire happiness, both for himself/herself and for others? That’s what Humanism is all about.

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Posted: 03 May 2012 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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A new article at Scientific American along similar lines has been posted, looking into reasons for the happiness of the religious.

A few key quotes are below, but please read the whole article.

Religious people may be happier than their godless counterparts, but only if the society they belong to values religion highly, which not all societies do. For atheists and the growing ranks of unaffiliated individuals, these findings bode well. Although many questions remain about how nonbelievers can acquire the health benefits of religion, scientists are now finding that secular communities of like-minded people can offer similar social support.

The data showed that happiness is not a matter of how often people say they think about God, talk about God or feel God’s presence. Instead people reported being more satisfied with their life simply when they attend religious services more frequently.

The advantages of a religion cannot simply be boiled down to the social network it provides, however. Comparing participants with a similar number of close friends but different degrees of religiosity, they found that the happiest people are those who belong to religious groups, have more close friends in their congregations, and believe that religion is very important to their sense of self. Without a strong religious identity, congregational friendship mattered less. Even more telling, people who attended regularly but had no friends in their place of worship were worse off than those who did not go to services at all. “Maybe there’s something we can learn about this secret ingredient in church friendship,” Lim says. “We can begin to look for a similar ingredient in a secular setting.”

For nonbelievers, these are heartening data. They bolster the idea that believers will accrue more psychological benefits only in places that value religiosity more, and vice versa. It means atheists are not permanently shut off from some fountain of happiness—although they may want to find a like-minded community to live in. As Roy Baumeister, now at Florida State University, and Mark Leary, now at Duke, wrote in 1995, “belongingness can be almost as compelling as food.”

To illustrate the difference between Denmark and the U.S., Zuckerman shares an anecdote from an American playground. His daughter, then six years old, was playing on a swing set with a friend when her companion asked her if she believed in God. The little girl replied, “No.” Her friend immediately got off the swing, damned Zuckerman’s daughter to hell and walked away.

In Scandinavia, the situation between the two girls would be reversed, he argues in his book, Society without God. As Sarah, a 20-year-old grocery clerk from a village in Jutland, told him: “Young people think that religion is kind of taboo. As a young person, you don’t say, ‘I’m a Christian, and I’m proud of it.’ If you do that, you often get picked on.”

Belief in God or gods is not a prerequisite for a pleasurable existence, although it can make life easier. Socializing with like-minded people on a regular basis, and living and working in a supportive community, can offer many of the same benefits. As Diener puts it, “Religion can certainly help people to be happier, but other things can help you do the same thing. A peaceful, cooperative society, even in the absence of religion, seems to have the same effect.”

Article: Are Believers Really Happier Than Atheists?

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Posted: 03 May 2012 10:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Oh, is that what the old saying means?  “Ignorance is bliss.”  LOL

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Posted: 04 May 2012 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Occam. - 03 May 2012 10:34 PM

Oh, is that what the old saying means?  “Ignorance is bliss.”  LOL

Love it, Occam!  LOL

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Posted: 04 May 2012 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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FreeInKy - 03 May 2012 10:46 AM
TenFold - 03 May 2012 08:48 AM

Atheists can be happy. They can also be miserable. As a matter of fact they can have scores of different emotions.

Why focus on only one emotion? (I know the answer. Read below)

Because happiness was drilled into the American’s psyche as an “inalienable” right in their quest for “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”.

Right. Because seeking happiness is a disease upon America. What the hell?

What is wrong with seeking happiness? What sane person does not desire happiness, both for himself/herself and for others? That’s what Humanism is all about.

If I’m understanding Tenfold correctly, there is a small problem with American’s thinking that they have the “right” to be happy.  No such thing.

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Posted: 05 May 2012 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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My take on this: Yes, happiness is a very desirable state of mind and usually comes from associating with like-minds, regardless of the veracity of the beliefs that the individuals in question share. However, I woulnt want to live in a fool’s paradise, not when I know the basis of my happiness is false and without substance whatsoever. I guess free thinkers and non-believers in general are stoical by nature, that being the rational state of mind inspired by an objective contemplation of existence

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Posted: 06 May 2012 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Now I get it!

The system works on reincarnation and making people become atheists is God’s version of Hell.

LOL

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Posted: 07 May 2012 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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I woulnt want to live in a fool’s paradise, not when I know the basis of my happiness is false and without substance

If you knew that the basis for your happiness was false than you wouldn’t be happy; you’d be embarrased! And BTW we’re not everyone here is stoic, some of us are epicurians. smile


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Posted: 07 May 2012 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Quoting Pambania:

I woulnt want to live in a fool’s paradise, not when I know the basis of my happiness is false and without substance whatsoever.

Sorry, but believing that your happiness is from a god is living in a fool’s paradise.  My happiness is based on everything I can do to help people, my observation of our beautiful universe from micro to macro, my pleasure of learning new things, etc.  NONE of this has anything to do with any silly supernatural being or force.  And my happiness is real and with very definite substance.

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Posted: 08 May 2012 02:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 07 May 2012 04:28 AM

I woulnt want to live in a fool’s paradise, not when I know the basis of my happiness is false and without substance

If you knew that the basis for your happiness was false than you wouldn’t be happy; you’d be embarrased! And BTW we’re not everyone here is stoic, some of us are epicurians. smile


Cap’t Jack

I quite agree.

Forgive my sloppy expression. Not all atheists are stoics. But certainly a stoic can an epicurean, don’t you think? Take my case for example - am a stoic with a hedonistic bent. smile

Now, let’s not get into any slit-hear distinctions, we’re all humanists at bottom and that’s all that really counts.

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Posted: 08 May 2012 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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Occam. - 07 May 2012 11:23 AM

Quoting Pambania:

I woulnt want to live in a fool’s paradise, not when I know the basis of my happiness is false and without substance whatsoever.

Sorry, but believing that your happiness is from a god is living in a fool’s paradise.  My happiness is based on everything I can do to help people, my observation of our beautiful universe from micro to macro, my pleasure of learning new things, etc.  NONE of this has anything to do with any silly supernatural being or force.  And my happiness is real and with very definite substance.

Occam

Ditto here. Couldn’t agree more.

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Posted: 10 May 2012 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Now, let’s not get into any slit-hear distinctions, we’re all humanists at bottom and that’s all that really counts.

Are you referencing “splitting hairs”? I’m stoical too with a little Epicurian thrown in, but that doesn’t make you a complete hedonist BTW. I do beleive that you should get the best out of your life by enjoying your own and helping others enjoy theirs as best as you are able.


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Posted: 10 May 2012 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 10 May 2012 04:34 AM

Now, let’s not get into any slit-hear distinctions, we’re all humanists at bottom and that’s all that really counts.

Are you referencing “splitting hairs”? I’m stoical too with a little Epicurian thrown in, but that doesn’t make you a complete hedonist BTW. I do beleive that you should get the best out of your life by enjoying your own and helping others enjoy theirs as best as you are able.


Cap’t Jack

Sorry for the typo, didn’t even notice it until now.

So you are a hedonist of sorts, too. Well, I guess our various outlooks are a pot-pourri of many different philosophical strains. By the way, I too am a liberal after a fashion. As far as the organisation of society go, I think a satisfactory state of affairs would be one where allowance is made for individual initiative.

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Posted: 15 May 2012 01:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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Pambania - 10 May 2012 11:59 AM
Thevillageatheist - 10 May 2012 04:34 AM

Now, let’s not get into any slit-hear distinctions, we’re all humanists at bottom and that’s all that really counts.

Are you referencing “splitting hairs”? I’m stoical too with a little Epicurian thrown in, but that doesn’t make you a complete hedonist BTW. I do beleive that you should get the best out of your life by enjoying your own and helping others enjoy theirs as best as you are able.


Cap’t Jack

Sorry for the typo, didn’t even notice it until now.

So you are a hedonist of sorts, too. Well, I guess our various outlooks are a pot-pourri of many different philosophical strains. By the way, I too am a liberal after a fashion. As far as the organisation of society go, I think a satisfactory state of affairs would be one where allowance is made for individual initiative.

Well, that rules out religion.

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